I have been juicing fresh vegetables on a regular basis for 4 years now. I compiled these tips after having only done it for a few months, so I added a couple to update my thoughts a bit!
2. Wash all produce with a high-quality, all-natural fruit and vegetable rinse. This ensures that pesticides and other chemicals are removed, and it also keeps your produce fresh longer in the fridge. You would be amazed at the dirt I rinse out of the bucket after washing all of my produce—yuck.
3. Wash your produce all at once when you get home from the store. It will all be washed and ready to go when you need it for juicing, or just for munching. This saves me lots of time, especially in the morning.
4. If using a masticating juicer, some preparation of the produce is required. I assemble the juicer the night before so it’s ready to go. In the morning, I take out my produce and begin cutting up whatever I need to (apples, oranges, lemons, carrots if they’re too big, cucumbers, etc.). While I’m cutting, I am also juicing. I throw in a carrot and while it’s juicing I cut my apple. It saves a lot of time. It takes me about 20 minutes each morning to gather everything, prepare it, and make enough juice for my husband and I.
5. Always alternate leafy greens with solid veggies, such as carrots or celery. This helps prevent clogs in your auger and keeps things moving along.
6. If juicing beets, remove the skins. I use a vegetable peeler to remove them. Don’t discard the beet greens; they can be juiced as well.
7. Cucumbers and citrus should also be peeled. Because of their waxy coating, it is hard to remove all chemicals on the surface of cucumbers. Oranges can be peeled with a vegetable peeler to remove the outer skin, but leaving the white pith (or just cut them and take the skins off like you normally would to eat it). Most other produce can be juiced with the skin intact.
8. Experiment with different combinations. It took me a while to get used to the taste of drinking vegetables, but now I really enjoy it. Add in a lemon or an orange to perk things up. Add some ginger or cilantro for a fresh flavor. The possibilities are endless. You can see some of my recipes for juice here and here.
9. Be cautious when juicing fruit. Fruit juices have high sugar content, and that sugar (in juice form) is instantly absorbed, creating a spike in blood sugar levels. Along with that spike, comes a crash. Fruits are easy to digest, and should be eaten whole most of the time. It’s fine to throw in an apple or piece of citrus fruit with your vegetable juice, but avoid drinking straight fruit juice on a regular basis. If you want a treat, drink fresh fruit juice alongside your meal. This way, the food will help slow down the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream.
10. Like any budget-conscious mom will tell you, plan ahead when grocery shopping. Look at what produce is on sale, and stock up if you are going to be juicing a lot. Making a plan of what you want to juice before you go to the store will prevent you from standing dumb-founded in front of all the produce, with no idea where to start. When doing our fast, I looked at the weekly ads on Tuesday night. If cucumbers were on sale that day, but wouldn’t be on Wednesday morning, I ran to the store to stock up. (Note: we did our first juice fast while actually living near a store, now I have to really plan ahead to get my produce)
11. Some produce will keep longer in the fridge so you can buy enough for a week at a time: apples, oranges, lemons, carrots, beets, celery, etc. Try to buy leafy greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs fresh every few days.
12. Have a pitcher or glass Mason jar handy if juicing for more than one person. I found a great glass pitcher with an air-tight lid at Wal-Mart for a few dollars. I pour the juice into it as my one-serving container (what the juice goes into from the juicer) gets full, and can even keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so if I need to.
Juicing continues to be one of the things where I notice the biggest difference in my health. When I am not juicing as much, I can tell. It is such a great source of natural energy and I love knowing I am getting in all of that extra nutrition, no matter what the day might bring.
Cold-pressed juices are popping up all over the place now and I make my own for a fraction of the price they charge, and have paid for my juicer over and over again!